What is a workflow? A workflow is the sequence of physical and cognitive tasks performed by different people within and between organizations. There are often multiple levels involved (one person, between people, between departments and across multiple organizations). These tasks may occur sequentially or simultaneously.
How should you develop a workflow? Workflow development should never take place in a silo. The better you and your team define roles, responsibilities and processes, the smoother things will go! A workflow is what can make the difference between clinicians and patients/clients who report high satisfaction with a telehealth visit and those who leave a telehealth encounter hoping to never have to experience another one again. Here you will find key considerations and examples to assist you with workflow development.
The following are some key questions to discuss with your team as you develop your workflow:
- How will my patient/client be informed about the availability of telehealth services? Who will tell them? What will they be told? How will they be told? When will they be told?
- How will telehealth visits be scheduled and who will do the scheduling? When will each clinician be available for telehealth visits (e.g., only during specific blocks of times or on specific days or scheduled like any other office visit or always available)?
- How will the patient/client be prepared and who will prepare them? What information will the provider need before the visit? How does this differ for new vs. established patients/clients? What paperwork is needed and who will collect/how will this be collected? Will reminders be sent? If so, when and by whom?
- How will your patient/client be informed about how to use the technology? Who will help the patient/client or the provider with technical or connection issues?
- Where will the provider be during visits? Is their location private and secure? Is there adequate bandwidth? How will the provider access and interface with the EMR? Will the provider need dual monitors?
- How will the provider know when the patient/client is ready to be seen? Will there be a virtual waiting room? What will the patient see/hear as they wait? How will communication take place if the provider or patient/client is running late?
- What will happen at the end of the visit? Will there be some kind of follow up? Who will follow up? How will the visit be documented and by whom? How will the visit be billed and by whom?
- How will staff be trained and by whom? How will you onboard new staff?
- HRSA has created this tip sheet: Plan Your Telehealth Workflow
- The American Medical Association (AMA) has created this Telehealth Implementation Playbook with a chapter on Designing the Workflow.
- Virginia Health Catalyst has created this Teledentistry in Virginia Implementation Toolkit with a chapter on Workflow Development.
- The Upper Midwest Telehealth Resource Center has created this Patient-Provider Telehealth Workflow
- West Health Institute has created this Telehealth Workflow for Post-Acute and Long Term Care Facilities